Adam Boqvist, Brynäs J20 (SuperElit)
Position: Right Defense
Age on Draft Day: 17.9 Years Old
Height/Weight: 5’11, 170 Pounds
2017-2018 Stats (Including Playoffs): 28 GP, 17 G, 12 A, 47 PIM, +8
NHL Central Scouting: 2nd (European Skaters)
HockeyProspect.com (March): 4th
Bob McKenzie (TSN): 6th
Craig Button (TSN) (March): 6th
ISS Hockey: 8th
As mentioned previously, we’re going to have Tobias help out with draft profiles concerning European players. Furthermore, regular Blueshirt Banter contributor Alex Nunn has stepped up and offered his thoughts going forward as well. Here are both of their individual scouting reports, followed by some brief thoughts from me (all GIFs included in this profile were gathered by Alex).
(Editor’s Note: Boqvist ranked fifth in Tobias’ personal rankings)
Adam Boqvist is an offensively minded right-handed defenseman. He spent most of the season in J20 SuperElit where he was a dominant player. He had a few shorter stints up with Brynäs in the SHL but was never able to stick, he ended the season with 15 Swedish Hockey League games but his average TOI was only at 7.27.
Boqvist is an electric offensive talent. He has by far the best release of any draft eligible D-man and his skating is excellent. His shot really is his bread and butter. His slapshot and one timers are powerful and he’s good at getting them through, while his wrist shot is that of a goal scoring winger; a quick, deceptive release.
When i watched him in SuperElit this season i thought he looked like Marian Gaborik streaking down the middle sometimes, which is pretty remarkable since he’s a D-man. He’s got great hands too, and loves to dangle. It’s hard to know how that will translate at higher levels, though, which is why I really wish he would have gotten more games and icetime against men either in SHL or HockeyAllsvenskan. When playing against his own age this season he absolutely dominated, both with Brynäs and with Team Sweden U18.
While he’s definitely an offensive D-man, that doesn’t mean he’s inept defensively. He’s just raw. He uses his skating well defensively and has an active stick. He does have some holes in his defensive game. He needs to learn to weigh when to join the rush and when to stay. Right now he pretty much always joins the rush which can be problematic.
It’s perhaps unfortunate for Boqvist that he’s had to live in the giant shadow of Rasmus Dahlin this year, because the young Swede is another exceptional offensive instigator with a full set of high-end, game-breaking tools.
Boqvist skates, shoots, and thinks the o-zone game as well as any defenseman in this draft class. His speed and dynamism allows him to aggressively maneuver through traffic and eat up ground in a flash, challenging opposing players with the puck on his stick to create shooting lanes which he capitalizes on with an accurate, heady release.
Boqvist possesses a full range of passing skills which he uses to run an efficient power play. His preference is generally to shoot when possible, though he knows where his teammates are at all times and rarely misses a set-up chance.
The biggest rub on Boqvist at this point is his largely raw d-zone game and the inherent risk which that may bring. He can be hesitant in perimeter battles at times and his smaller frame does get overpowered. The trade-off here is that once Boqvist has the puck then he’s a great outlet and can turn defense into offense in an instant.
Boqvist was one of Sweden’s standout players at both the U18 World Championship and Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup this season, though inability to lock down consistent minutes with Brynas’ SHL club did handcuff him to a J20 league that he was clearly far too good for.
Boqvist is a talented player at a premium position, but he’s raw. Maybe more concerning to scouts is that he’s very unproven. He did not play for Sweden at the U20 World Junior Championship, and according to Tobias that was because Sweden’s decision makers felt they were already loaded with older offensive defensemen. He spent most of the season in Sweden’s top junior league instead of the SHL because of Brynas’ defensive depth. Even when he did earn SHL games, he would usually play under eight minutes.
There is another defenseman with a similar story. Erik Karlsson was too small, young, and raw to get meaningful pro minutes as a 17-year-old and also did not participate in the U20 World Juniors. Here were his numbers in the SuperElit compared to Boqvist’s.
I want to be abundantly clear that I am not predicting a Karlsson-esque surge for Boqvist. What I am hoping the example will show why Boqvist’s inexperience could be to the Rangers’ advantage. Despite Karlsson’s obvious talent, teams were spooked by their inability to see him perform against tougher competition, and so he dropped to the Ottawa Senators at 15th overall. Compared to all other players in the top-10, Boqvist has the most work to do to become NHL-ready. For that reason, he could easily drop to the Rangers at 9th overall, or at least fall into a realistic trade zone of 6th through 8th overall. It’s important to remember that Boqvist is practically an entire year younger than Quinn Hughes, though, and significantly younger than the rest as well.
Unlike teams such Montreal or Vancouver, whose management groups are under immense pressure to deliver immediate results, the Rangers can afford to take their time with the rebuild. Boqvist will likely play a few seasons in Sweden before coming over to North America, but an extra season or two of waiting is well worth it for the Rangers if the payoff is the top-pairing, offensively gifted right-handed defenseman they so desperately need.
What Others Have Said
Central Scouting Service European Director Goran Stubb (via Senators.com):
“Boqvist is a finesse defenceman who is very skilled, possesses excellent vision and tons of talent.”
“He is going to be the D-man that is going to run power plays.”
Jeremy Davis, Canucks Army:
“Boqvist could still be an elite NHL defenceman some day, but he’s a long way off from that right now.”